Posted by Polemic

Today we’re tackling a question that many of us have asked over
the years: how do you increase your chances of getting your content
into Google News? We’re delighted to welcome renowned SEO
specialist Barry Adams to share the framework you need to have in
place in order to have a chance of appearing in that much-coveted
Google News carousel.

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Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. I’m Barry Adams. I’m a technical SEO consultant at
Polemic Digital and a specialist in news SEO. Today we’re going to
be talking about how to get into Google News. I get a lot of
questions from a lot of people about Google News and specifically
how you get a website into Google News, because it’s a really great
source of traffic for websites. Once you’re in the Google News
Index, you can appear in the top stories carousel in Google search
results, and that can send a lot of traffic your way.

How do you get into Google News’ manually curated index?

So how do you get into Google News? How do you go about getting
your website to be a part of Google News’ manual index so that you
can get that top stories traffic for yourself? Well, it’s not
always as easy as it makes it appear. You have to jump through
quite a few hoops before you get into Google News.

1. Have a dedicated news website

First of all, you have to have a dedicated news website. You
have to keep in mind when you apply to be included in Google News,
there’s a team of Googlers who will manually review your website to
decide whether or not you’re worthy of being in the News index.
That is a manual process, and your website has to be a dedicated
news website.

I get a lot of questions from people asking if they have a news
section or a blog on their site and if that could be included in
Google News. The answer tends to be no. Google doesn’t want news
websites in there that aren’t entirely about news, that are
commercial websites that have a news section. They don’t really
want that. They want dedicated news websites, websites whose sole
purpose is to provide news and content on specific topics and
specific niches.

So that’s the first hurdle and probably the most important one.
If you can’t clear that hurdle, you shouldn’t even try getting into
Google News.

2. Meet technical requirements

There are also a lot of other aspects that go into Google News.
You have to jump through, like I said, quite a few hoops. Some
technical requirements are very important to know as well.

Have static, unique URLs.

Google wants your articles and your section pages to have
static, unique URLs so that an article or a section is always on
the same URL and Google can crawl it and recrawl it on that URL
without having to work with any redirects or other things. If you
have content with dynamically generated URLs, that does not tend to
work with Google News very well. So you have to keep that in mind
and make sure that your content, both your articles and your static
section pages are on fixed URLs that tend not to change over
time.

Have your content in plain HTML.

It also helps to have all your content in plain HTML. Google
News, when it indexes your content, it’s all about speed. It tries
to index articles as fast as possible. So any content that requires
like client-side JavaScript or other sort of scripting languages
tends not to work for Google News. Google has a two-stage indexing
process, where the first stage is based on the HTML source code and
the second stage is based on a complete render of the page,
including executing JavaScript.

For Google News, that doesn’t work. If your content relies on
JavaScript execution, it will never be seen by Google News. Google
News only uses the first stage of indexing, based purely on the
HTML source code. So keep your JavaScript to a minimum and make
sure that the content of your articles is present in the HTML
source code and does not require any JavaScript to be seen to be
present.

Have clean code.

It also helps to have clean code. By clean code, I mean that the
article content in the HTML source code should be one continuous
block of code from the headline all the way to the end. That tends
to result in the best and most efficient indexing in Google News,
because I’ve seen many examples where websites put things in the
middle of the article code, like related articles or video
carousels, photo galleries, and that can really mess up how Google
News indexes the content. So having clean code and make sure the
article code is in one continuous block of easily understood HTML
code tends to work the best for Google News.

3. Optional (but more or less mandatory) technical considerations

There’s also quite a few other things that are technically
optional, but I see them as pretty much mandatory because it really
helps with getting your content picked up in Google News very fast
and also makes sure you get that top stories carousel position as
fast as possible, which is where you will get most of your news
traffic from.

Have a news-specific XML sitemap.

Primarily the news XML sitemap, Google says this is optional but
recommended, and I agree with them on that. Having a news-specific
XML sitemap that lists articles that you’ve published in the last
48 hours, up to a maximum of 1,000 articles, is absolutely
necessary. For me, I think this is Google News’ primary discovery
mechanism when they crawl your website and try to find new
articles.

So that news-specific XML sitemap is absolutely crucial, and you
want to make sure you have that in place before you submit your
site to Google News.

Mark up articles with NewsArticle structured data.

I also think it’s very important to mark up your articles with
news article structured data. It can be just article structured
data or even more specific structured data segments that Google is
introducing, like news article analysis and news article opinion
for specific types of articles.

But article or news article markup on your article pages is
pretty much mandatory. I see your likelihood of getting into the
top stories carousel much improved if you have that markup
implemented on your article pages.

Helpful-to-have extras:

Also, like I said, this is a manually curated index. So there
are a few extra hoops that you want to jump through to make sure
that when a Googler looks at your website and reviews it, it ticks
all the boxes and it appears like a trustworthy, genuine news
website.

A. Multiple authors

Having multiple authors contribute to your website is hugely
valuable, hugely important, and it does tend to elevate you above
all the other blogs and small sites that are out there and makes it
a bit more likely that the Googler reviewing your site will press
that Approve button.

B. Daily updates

Having daily updates definitely is necessary. You don’t want
just one news post every couple of days. Ideally, multiple new
articles every single day that also should be unique. You can have
some sort of syndicated content on there, like from feeds, from AP
or Reuters or whatever, but the majority of your content needs to
be your own unique content. You don’t want to rely too much on
syndicated articles to fill your website with news content.

C. Mostly unique content

Try to write as much unique content as you possibly can. There
isn’t really a clear ratio for that. Generally speaking, I
recommend my clients to have at least 70% of the content as unique
stuff that they write themselves and publish themselves and only
30% maximum syndicated content from external sources.

D. Specialized niche/topic

It really helps to have a specialized niche or a specialized
topic that you focus on as a news website. There are plenty of news
sites out there that are general news and try to do everything, and
Google News doesn’t really need many more of those. What Google is
interested in is niche websites on specific topics, specific areas
that can provide in-depth reporting on those specific industries or
topics. So if you have a very niche topic or a niche industry that
you cover with your news, it does tend to improve your chances of
getting into that News Index and getting that top stories carousel
traffic.

So that, in a nutshell, is how you get into Google News. It
might appear to be quite simple, but, like I said, quite a few
hoops for you to jump through, a few technical things you have to
implement on your website as well. But if you tick all those boxes,
you can get so much traffic from the top stories carousel, and the
rest is profit. Thank you very much.

This has been my Whiteboard Friday.

Further resources:

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